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Constant long photoperiod inhibits the onset of the reproductive cycle in roach females and males


Photoperiod and temperature are commonly accepted as the determinant factors for the control of the reproductive cycle in freshwater fishes. However, this determining effect is dependent on fish species. While applying a constant long photoperiod has an inhibitory effect in some species, the same photoperiodic manipulation has a stimulating effect in others. In cyprinids, a decrease in temperature or photoperiod can induce the gonad recrudescence. However, in roach Rutilus rutilus an early spring spawner cyprinid, there is little knowledge about the cueing role of each environmental factor. The aim of this work was to study the effect of a constant long photoperiod on the gametogenesis in roach. Fish were kept under either naturally simulated photoperiod or artificial constant long photoperiod and sampled at three times: at the beginning of photoperiod decrease, at the beginning of temperature decrease, and at the end of temperature decrease. Morphological parameters (gonado-somatic, hepato-somatic, and viscera-somatic indexes), plasma sexual steroids, and proportion of gametogenesis stages were estimated at each sampling time. The results showed that a constant, long photoperiod exerted inhibitory effects on gametogenesis advancement in both females and males that could stem from decrease of sex steroid production. Roach displayed a similar response to photoperiodic manipulations to other early spring spawners like percids, such as European perch, yellow perch and pikeperch. These results clearly showed the cueing role of the photoperiod in the induction of the reproductive cycle in roach.

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We would like to thank all members of the AFPA research unit for their active collaboration in this study. We would also like to thank Julien Ruelle and Maryline Harroué from UMR 1092 AgroParisTech INRA Laboratoy of study of forest and wood resources “LERFoB”, technical platform xylosciences for the provision of the necessary equipment to realize the histological analyses (Technical Platform of functional ecogenomics, INRA Champenoux, France). We are thankful to Daniel Van Vlaender (Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix FUNDP, Belgium) for his help with histological protocols, Jos Fey (Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science, University of Leuven), Marie Fernandez (University of Saint Etienne, France) for their advices about statistics with R software, and Mark Holmes (University of Namur, Belgium) for the proofreading.


This study was partly funded by the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

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Correspondence to Imen Ben Ammar or Pascal Fontaine.

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Ben Ammar, I., Milla, S., Ledoré, Y. et al. Constant long photoperiod inhibits the onset of the reproductive cycle in roach females and males. Fish Physiol Biochem 46, 89–102 (2020).

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  • Photoperiod manipulation
  • Inhibition
  • Onset of reproductive cycle
  • Roach